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Road Cycling – Island Explorer

  • Island hopping across 3 of Scotland’s best islands – Arran, Islay and Jura
  • Enjoy world class whisky and wildlife on the beautiful Island of Islay
  • Visit the third largest whirlpool in the world en route to the Kingdom of Argyll
  • 7 days professional guiding with lead guide plus assistant guide/support driver
  • 6 nights accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels/ inns/guest houses on a B&B basis
  • Meals stated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Vehicle transport throughout including ride support and luggage transfers
  • All ferry transport and local boat services
  • Entrance and admission fees as stated in the itinerary
  • Ride snacks, home-baking and drinks

Green Graded Road Cycling Holidays 1-3

Green graded trips are suitable for people with a reasonable level of fitness who enjoy cycling and are looking for an active but relaxed trip. They are also suitable for active people who are new to cycle touring and looking for a new way to explore the countryside.

Distances each day will be between 25 – 40 miles, cycling at an average speed of around 12mph. We will ride on mostly straightforward rolling terrain with one or two more notable climbs during the trip, where some riders may opt to ride in the support vehicle. We will be in the saddle for 4-6 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches, plus visits to sites of interest.

 

ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS

This trip features some of the best hotel and guest house accommodation and food along the route we travel. We use a variety of accommodations such as country inns, guesthouses and small hotels, all hand-picked by us. Accommodation is in a choice of double or twin rooms with ensuite facilities.

Lunch each day will be either a wilderness picnic or taken at a local cafe/restaurant. Drinks and snacks are provided throughout the day as you require. Evening meals are included on the first and final evenings, and on this itinerary and we have the flexibility to take evening meals in local restaurants or pubs. Based upon our knowledge and experience, we will visit the best places to eat along the route.

SINGLE ROOMS

There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will check availability for you. A single room supplement of £350 is charged if a single room is available – please see booking form terms and conditions.

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Glasgow Queen Street Station at 11:00am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Glasgow Queen Street for 2:00pm on the final day of the trip.

For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website: www.wildernessscotland.com/faq/travel-to-scotland/

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 20

4 star 0

3 star 2

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Rachelle Rochelle 10/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Team was friendly and knowledgeable. Things were pretty seamless with booking and getting questions answered.
Trip Comments
My life in general is really busy, so I didn't have much time to plan or research prior to getting on the plane to Scotland. John and Craig took care of everything, it was glorious! All I had to do was show up. The knew the history and folklore of the places we visited, provided clear instructions and guidance, and were a pleasure to spend time with. The accommodations were lovely, food was great - local and delicious - and the routes beautiful. I would 100% do it again!
Accommodation and Food
See previous comment.
Your Guide
As I mentioned before, John and Craig were amazing. I think they both helped to make the trip. Knowledgeable, great sense of humor, kind, helpful, and easy going. Great fit with this type of travel. I think they both did a great job of accommodating the different levels of cyclists we had on the trip. Kudos to you both. I want my next trip to be led by the dynamic duo!
The Bottom Line
THE TRIP WAS AMAZING! I have already recommended WS to multiple friends. It was one of the best trips I have gone on to date. It was my first "active" vacation, and I loved it. You have a wonderful company, with great staff etc. Thanks for everything. The one note I have, and the rest of our group agreed that the ride should be listed as a 4 and not a 3 - it was harder than we all expected.

by Charles Tysseling 28/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Perfect guides, well organised, good hotels, etc.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Friendly helpful and supportive guides.
The Bottom Line
Perfect trip, enjoyable experience.

by Sarah Timmins DeGregory 28/08/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Appreciated follow-up on queries (cost, insurance)
Trip Comments
Guides were terrific; details great and small all sorted; scenery spectacular
Accommodation and Food
All accommodations were good in different ways - in Arran and Islay, comfy beds, delicious breakfasts and dinners; on the mainland, accommodation and food less impressive, but satisfactory - the view made up for the lesser quality.
Your Guide
Craig and John were patient, knowledgable, kind and energetic guides; I would book another trip with them in a heart beat - just need to start saving my pence!
The Bottom Line
This wasn't an every year type of holiday, and I saved for the pleasure of this cycle holiday. I was not disappointed, although I had never gone a a trip like this before, and the Island Hopper tour was challenging for me. I was happy to have achieved it, making it out on my bicycle each day (even in the rain), and conquering hills! The guides were excellent, and made the trip much more enjoyable with their knowledge of cycling, the area, history, etc. and their attention to detail.

by Helen Tysseling 27/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Very well organised, excellent tour guides, beautiful scenery and a flexible approach to the itinerary to suit the group. Accommodation also very good
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Always calm, confident, enthusiastic and flexible to the requirements of the group
The Bottom Line
A fantastic experience , I am now suffering withdrawal symptoms

by Natalie Danks 27/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Organising the trip was easy and seamless.
Trip Comments
Craig and John are both very experienced cyclists who provided excellent advice suitable to me as a 'sometimes' rider. They were both very keen to share their experiences and pass on their knowledge regarding Scotland's history. Both made the trip a success. Russell was a welcome addition and had a great sense of humour. I would not hesitate to recommend this trip to others.
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation was of a very high standard and provided a welcome break and opportunity to relax after a day's ride. I will say that Loch Melfort Hotel fell short by way of service however the location and the view makes up for it. I don't think there is a need to change that location for this trip given that it is only a 1 night stay.
Your Guide
As already stated, Craig, John and Russell were excellent representatives of the company to the point that I would seek out other holiday opportunities where those guides are involved.
The Bottom Line
An excellent trip which catered for everyone's needs. The trip was challenging and rewarding and has confirmed that cycling is definitely for me.

by Peggy Forsyth 02/07/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

3Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

3The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Love the hotels and the food. Arran glenisle hotel was wonderful. All were perfect.
Your Guide
Sam was fantastic.
The Bottom Line
Great hotels, strong on logistics, great people who were on the trip. Needed van backup on last biking day and more communication on the difficult parts.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thanks so much for your feedback, it sounds like you had a great trip! Unfortunately as we are biking on Jura on the last day it’s not possible to take a support vehicle across to the Island, this is mentioned on the trip dossier but we’ll make sure to ask the guides to remind everyone on the trip. Hopefully we can welcome you back to the Highlands soon.

by Scott Munro 02/07/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
loved it all
Accommodation and Food
although can't believe that sticky toffee pudding is so out of fashion in Scotland
Your Guide
both of the guys did an excellent job
The Bottom Line

by Douglas Welsh 25/06/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
All excellent.
I don't recall laundry detergent being on the list of required items, but it was definitely handy on our trip (detergent to wash some bike stuff in the sink at the end of the day).
As well, I didn't know where to meet in the Queen Street Station, but once we got there, it is a small station and it was no problem finding people on day one.
Trip Comments
Nice variety on all the three islands (Arran, Islay, and Jura). Good group of people and excellent leaders. Food was very good at all three locations. The bike jersey supplied by WS was really handy as well.
Accommodation and Food
Food was surprisingly good, very good. Good food is really appreciated after a long day of riding. We really liked the picnic lunches, but even the places where we went out for lunch was super (Day 2). The coffee break in the morning was also perfect timing. Accommodation was basic, but clean and comfortable, which was what we expected. Accommodation on Islay (Bridgs'end) was the nicest for sure (clean and nice dining room). Lamlash hotel had good food and sunny outdoor patio, but carpet in room could use a cleaning and the shower doors were poor (water was leaking out and on the wall - there was a fair bit of mould on the wall just outside the shower door from leaky water being built up over time). Milfort Bay accommodation had best potential (the largest room, beautiful view, excellent dining areas), but bed covers were way too short and bathroom shower glass window could have been a few inches longer so water wouldn't leak over the floor as much.
Your Guide
Sam and Kelty were excellent guides - friendly, knowledgeable, safety conscious. Good guides make the trip.
The Bottom Line
A 5. Great experience, top notch, Scotland is beautiful. It is a wonderful trip for people who are looking for a combination of good food, beautiful scenery, meeting others, and actively exercising.

by Barbara Whetnall 25/07/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The customer service is excellent. The itineraries are really clear and the equipment list exactly right.
Trip Comments
The Island Explorer trip is magical. Each island is different. The rain and wind on the first days only added to the adventure and made the ride more magical. The mist in the hills and sunshine, the gravel roads, wildflowers and the wildlife was delightful.
Accommodation and Food
The range of food and accommodation was impressive. All the places were very welcoming and comfortable - and the picnics were great.
Your Guide
Craig, Helen and Ben were great and looked after all of us really well. Their knowledge, experience, excellent humour and sense of adventure made the whole trip so enjoyable. I now look at oyster catchers in a whole new light!
The Bottom Line
Final verdict? Superb. The cycling is fantastic - but also it is an opportunity to stop and hear real quiet - the humming of bees, the call of seals in the bay, and curlews - marvellous. I would recommend Wilderness Scotland to everyone.

by Victor Johnston 08/07/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
My daughter booked it as a surprise present and got excellent advice so that it was absolutely appropriate for me.
Trip Comments
Great accommodation,mature knowledgeable guides. Highlights: all of Islay, flexibility of tour as a new cyclist got a chance to test myself and am now hooked.
Accommodation and Food
Very high standard much more so than I expected
Your Guide
Both excellent with vast and complimentary range of knowledge.
Have got me hooked on cycling,cleats and a cycle camp in Mallorca next Spring,wonder if I'll still be singing Cube's praises slogging up 'lumpy' Mallorcan terrain?
The Bottom Line
Excellent trip and looking forward to my next one with you

Prices and Departures

16 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
12th May - 18th May 2018
£1,795
6 place(s) left
16th Jun - 22nd Jun 2018
£1,795
6 place(s) left
14th Jul - 20th Jul 2018
£1,795
8 place(s) left
18th Aug - 24th Aug 2018
£1,795
5 place(s) left

Trip Details

This island-hopping cycle tour has all the ingredients to become a classic – quiet scenic roads, excellent accommodation, food and some of the world’s finest whisky.

Throughout the week you will enjoy day rides on the beautiful islands of Arran, Islay and Jura, as well as crossing the Mull of Kintyre.

These small islands were made for exploring by bike and you can expect fascinating wildlife, history and culture along the way. Journey from island to island using local ferries and to finish, a private RIB charter back to the mainland via the awesome Corryvreckan Whirlpool – the largest in Scotland!  At the end of each day, relax in hand picked accommodation with mouth watering local food, ales and whiskies providing an authentic taste of the islands.

Need a bike? See our bike hire page for details.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Glasgow to Brodick

We meet in the morning in Glasgow for our journey to the west coast, where we catch the ferry from Ardrossan to the Isle of Arran. We will cross the Firth of Clyde which takes 55 minutes and arrives into the main village of Brodick. Arran is often described as “Scotland in Miniature” and is divided into the wild, unspoilt, mountainous north, dominated by the peak of Goat Fell; and the forest, farmland and resorts of the south.

On arrival we will make the short transfer to our accommodation for the next two nights. After checking in we will spend some time fine tuning the bikes and ensuring everyone is set up for weeks riding. After a short ride, we settle in to our accommodation at Lamlash to relax before dinner. (L, D)

Day 2 – South Arran Loop

Our ride today will take us around the southern half of Arran, which has a lower landscape in comparison to the mountainous north, although there will be a couple of hills to test the legs. Starting from Lamlash we head round south passing through Whiting Bay and on to the south side of the island. We stop for lunch at a ‘Velo Cafe’ before turning north again and the route is packed with interest and the coastline is worth exploring including standing stones, caves, castles and crags. We will also be treated to great views across to the mainland. Completing the loop we pass through Brodick and back to Lamlash. This evening we will enjoy dinner at the hotel (B, L)

Distance: 40.9miles/65km

Day 3 – Arran to Islay

Cycling directly from Brodick we pass by Goat Fell, the highest peak on Arran. The road winds north towards Lochranza and its ruined castle, where a short ferry crossing reconnects us to the mainland on the Kintyre Peninsula. We will then ride the short distance into Kennacraig to connect with our second ferry of the day to take us to Islay. The crossing takes around 2 hours and takes us past the Isle of Gigha and through the Sound of Jura, where we can look out for minke whales, dolphins and basking sharks.

On arrival in Islay there is an option to ride a short distance to the accommodation or transfer in the support vehicle. (B, L)

Distance: 36.2 miles/52km

Day 4 – Riding on Islay

This morning we transfer to the coastal village of Portnahaven, where grey seals can often be seen in the harbour. Our route follows the west coast of the island, with the Atlantic to keep us company, before a short descent towards Port Charlotte. We then ride north to a wild sandy beach for a picnic lunch overlooking the sea.

Back on the bikes we start to ride back to our accommodation at Bridgend via Loch Gruinart, where we can stop off to visit the small RSPB centre for a break and to learn about the importance of Islay to many bird species such as migrating geese, corncrake, lapwing and hen harrier. (B, L)

Distance: 38.8miles/62 km

Day 5 – Riding on Islay

Today will be a shorter ride along Islay’s quiet country roads. We set off to Port Ellen, and reaching the coast once more we turn left and follow the road along the whisky coast – passing the 3 famous distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. We carry on a short way past, to reach the monolithic Kildalton Celtic Cross. We then ride back to Ardbeg for lunch in the cafe before spending the afternoon enjoying a tutored whisky tasting. Afterwards we transfer back to Bridgend.

Day 6 – Jura and the Gulf of Corryvreckan

This morning we ride the short distance to Port Askaig, where we board the passenger ferry to Jura reaching the island in a little over five minutes. The support van will stay on Islay today so we’ll need to be self sufficient for the day.

The Island only has one main road, passing by the Isle of Jura Distillery. There are many historical sites of interest, varying from Iron Age Forts, ancient burial grounds and standing stones as we cycle along the east coast of the Island towards the main village of Craighouse. We will stop for lunch at a great little cafe, enjoying views of the bay.

Continuing along the coast, we will then load the bikes onto a private boat and be treated to a trip to visit the Gulf of Corryvreckan, home to a famous whirlpool when the tide is roaring through.

Form here the boat takes us back to the mainland and our hotel which is set in 17 acres of gardens and beach overlooking the coast. We will enjoy a final dinner at the hotel and perhaps a dram to celebrate a fantastic week of Island hopping. (B, L, D)

Day 7 – Return to Glasgow

After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel there will be time for a short walk around the neighbouring Arduannie Gardens. The gardens are run and maintained by the National Trust for Scotland and benefit form the warming effect of the North Atlantic drift. Due to the proximity to the sea, this allows the cultivation of many rare and tender plants from around the world.

Our journey back to Glasgow will take us around 2 hours 45 minutes, passing through Inverary and Loch Fyne, where we can stop for a bite to eat before returning to Glasgow. (B)

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Prices and Departures

16 people viewed this trip in the last week

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
12th May - 18th May 2018
£1,795
6 place(s) left
16th Jun - 22nd Jun 2018
£1,795
6 place(s) left
14th Jul - 20th Jul 2018
£1,795
8 place(s) left
18th Aug - 24th Aug 2018
£1,795
5 place(s) left

Price from: £1,795

Next trip: 12th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

22 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
THE TRIP WAS AMAZING! I have already recommended WS to multiple friends. It was one of the best trips I have gone on to date. It was my first "active" vacation, and I loved it. You have a wonderful company, with great staff etc. Thanks for everything. The one note I have, and the rest of our group agreed that the ride should be listed as a 4 and not a 3 - it was harder than we all expected.

Rachelle Rochelle
10/09/2017

5

Perfect trip, enjoyable experience.

Charles Tysseling
28/08/2017

5

Rated 4.82 out of 5 based on 22 review(s) of Road Cycling – Island Explorer

5 star 20

4 star 0

3 star 2

2 star 0

1 star 0

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